John Heylar's Lords of the Realm
is outstanding. It is a look into the business-side of baseball, with a particular focus on the modern, free-agent period, for which finances have become far more complex, as are the labor issues the game faces. The book's basis thesis: that money isn't everything, provided that it is spent wisely, is a point driven home by the Oakland A's. Heylar wrote The Lords of the Realm
far before the Yankees began their late-1990s run of dominance, so his tales of disasterous free-agent spending by teams in the 1980s doesn't quite ring as true in 2004 as it did when the book was written in 1995. (Remember Bobby Bonilla, Mets fans?) The book is mostly a story of owner arrogance than big money (a.k.a., "Yankee") dominance of the American Pastime.
Michael Lewis' Moneyball
is, of course, on my bookshelf, courtesy of my fiancee. I've read the first chapter, a profile of A's GM Billy Beane circa 1980. I'll get around to it one of these days, but probably after I finish studying for the bar exam this summer: